Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, announced that the Excellence in Agriculture program is open to receive applications and now includes a new category to recognize outstanding young farmers.
The Excellence in Agriculture program recognizes agri-food innovations and advancements that demonstrate leadership, product development or technology advancement that will benefit the sector. The innovations recognized will be those that have the potential to help move the agri-food sector forward, so it is better positioned to thrive here at home and on the global stage.
"I'm so pleased to launch the 2019 Excellence in Agriculture program. Ontario's agri-food sector has always been innovative," said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Our farmers and processors always amaze me with their innovative ideas and projects. Innovation is what will allow Ontario to compete and succeed locally and on the world stage."
In addition to primary producers, processors and agri-food organizations, the 2019 Excellence in Agriculture program has a new category to recognize outstanding youth leaders in the agri-food sector. Youth under 29, who are residents of Ontario and have an innovation with a direct link to the agri-food sector, are encouraged to apply. There is also a new category focussed on innovation. Application criteria for all five applicant categories can be found in the program guidebook.
The top innovation in each of the five categories will receive a plaque in recognition of their achievement and will be featured in a promotional video. All recipients will have access to the Excellence in Agriculture wordmark to be used for marketing and promotional purposes, and up to 15 honorable mention recipients will receive a certificate.
Applications can be submitted until October 11, 2019.
"Ontario's agri-food sector is a driving force for innovation and economic growth in our province," said Hardeman. "Agri-food innovators are always pushing boundaries and expanding economic opportunities for our agri-food sector."
Ontario is a strong supporter of the agri-food sector and is committed to the province's farmers and food processors. Our farmers produce more than 200 commodities and support food and beverage manufacturers whose products feed our local communities and the world. The sector contributes over $39.5 billion to the local economy and employs one in eight Ontarians.
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